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Monday, September 28, 2015

Fashion Tips from Giuliana Rancic and Jake Wall

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge [Left to right] Current Project Runway contestants Blake Patterson, Jake Wall and Joseph Charles Poli and Fashion Police's Giuliana Rancic add some celebrity to Macy's Fashion’s Front Row event. - COURTESY OF MACYS
  • Courtesy of Macys
  • [Left to right] Current Project Runway contestants Blake Patterson, Jake Wall and Joseph Charles Poli and Fashion Police's Giuliana Rancic add some celebrity to Macy's Fashion’s Front Row event.

San Francisco may be a leading tech, green and food city, but when it comes to fashion, we rarely trend. But can you blame us? With ever-shifting weather conditions and Burners for muses, our judgment is often clouded by a mass of fog and feathers. And with today's narrow tech-focus, many of us care more about accessorizing our new Apple Watches with the latest bands than ourselves. It doesn't help matters that the city is so cost-prohibitive that most budding designers are forced to flock to Los Angeles and New York in order to truly take off.

Macys is trying to defy this trend with its Fashion Incubator, which gives emerging designers, such as Stephanie Bodnar, Cake Carlos, Jessie Liu and Nishika De Rosairo, the tools they need to persevere, including spots in the Union Square department store's Sep. 25 Fashion's Front Row event, hosted by Style Police's Giuliana Rancic and featuring Fashion Incubator alum and Project Runway contestant Jake Wall of JAKE fame. SF Weekly spoke to Rancic and Wall about staying stylish in San Francisco. 

Between the microclimates and varying weather conditions, San Franciscans can have a hard time getting an appropriate outfit together. Do you have any tips for achieving a stylish look that's practical for the ever-changing weather here? 

Giuliana Rancic: I think layering is probably a good thing for San Francisco. I do that, too. I live in Chicago half the time, where you definitely have to dress for the weather. So what I'll do is, I'll always have a moto jacket on and then I might have tied around my waste a cool plaid shirt, a kinda grunge-style shirt to edge it up a bit. But then if I'm cold, I could throw that shirt on under the jacket, so I think it's just being smart with the way you layer and buying pieces that take you from day to night and hot to cold.

So many people here have a longer workday, and they take their work very seriously, which is how I am. So it's about having those little things in my car or at work. I always have an amazing pair of stilettos or pumps to be able to go to nighttime or a great statement necklace that dresses up the look. So there are always little things you can have around to just really take you from day to night or from one type of weather to another.

Jake Wall: San Francisco is all about layers, so there's no way of getting around it. But while we're having this unseasonal heatwave, I think the key thing is thinking a little lighter than we normally would. Usually, around this time, we're looking at our plush cashmere, but this is the time to start thinking about thinner layered things. So go with the thinner cashmere that you can throw on or off easily. Cardigans are great because you can wear them open. Think of layers less as packing yourself in as much as adding fringe, if you will, layer by layer. 

Two looks from Patterson, Wall and Poli's unconventional challenge, using Macys ephemera. - COURTESY OF MACYS
  • Courtesy of Macys
  • Two looks from Patterson, Wall and Poli's unconventional challenge, using Macys ephemera.

The three most iconic brands to come out of San Francisco are Gap, Levi's and Esprit. Which of these do you most identify with?

GR: I used to wear a lot of Esprit, because I grew up in the '80s. So I think it's the whole nostalgia thing with Esprit, because it brings me back to my childhood. But I think if i had to choose one, I'd probably choose Gap, the reason being Gap was such a big part of my childhood and adulthood. I've spent many hours at the Gap, and it's just an iconic brand. I was always able to find things, whether it was my first job or whether it was to go on vacation or just hanging out with friends and finding a cool pair of jeans or cool little sweater.

JW: I would replace Esprit with a company by the name of Jeanne-Marc that was huge in the '80s. It's most of the clothes you saw on Dynasty or when any of the women on Designing Women or The Golden Girls were going to events. In the '80s, in its heyday, Bette Midler, Stockard Channing, their everyday upscale looks, they were all Jeanne-Marc clothing. It was a brand that was sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and really had this amazing moment. If you go back to the '80s and look at the things we think of as so iconically '80s, it was all them.

It is the one that is absolutely the closest to my heart, because I would love to be responsible for a decade of decadence at the very least, where looking back, someone could say all of that iconic came from these people, and I think that's the closest to what Nathan Johnson and I do at JAKE. 

Three native San Franciscans: Courtney Love, Margaret Cho and Aisha Tyler. Who wears it better?

GR: Margaret Cho is my girl. I love her. She looked great last week on Fashion Police. She had a great chartreuse-colored dress on. She looked sexy and was showing off all her tats. I love her style, because it's cool, edgy and fun. To me, Margaret is so funny, yet so lovely and charming. When we've spoken behind the scenes or on the phone, she is just such a lovely and kind human being that you can't help but love her and are just happy for her and all her successes. 

San Franciscans just can't seem to let that 2003 hipster look or its more recent tech bro variation go. When will it disappear?

JW: We linger.

To paraphrase the Cranberries, do we have to let it linger? 

JW: We will never leave it behind, but it's going to become the same way we treat the Haight-Ashbury look. That's the thing. We never leave things behind; we just make them a neighborhood. It becomes a feeling. Like that's very Oaklandish of you. It will never go away. It will continue to get refined, but I think it's the new hippie for us. Like when we see a hippie, we say, 'They've got Haight all over them.' So yeah, it's never going away. 

Jake, what are the challenges of making it in such an expensive, tech-focused city like San Francisco?

JW: I think it's hard to do anything in fashion anywhere. There are a lot of designers in the world, but there's a difference between making pretty things and having a customer. So I think the key thing is it's a bit easier than you may imagine, as long as you know who your customer is. In knowing that, you know what resources you need to put it all together right here. We have amazing facilities in San Francisco: factories, sewers, pattern makers, all of them, and we really don't have to go outside of the 7x7.

So there's actually hope for all those San Francisco Art Institute and Academy of Art College fashion students I see downtown each day?

JW: I think there's hope as long as they stop looking at muses, but really learn how to define their customer. Fashion is a business, so if you can define your customer, then the sky's the limit — even within this city.  

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Joshua Rotter


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